As with any kind of emergency preparation, the best defense is a good offense. We’re all doing our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by washing our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, staying home when we’re sick, and practicing social distancing.
But it’s still important to have a plan for you and your loved ones if you’re faced with self-quarantine. How will you manage food, social distancing in a confined space, as well as disinfecting shared space?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some suggestions for how to prepare your family for a COVID-19 outbreak in our community.
- Protect yourself. This is where those basic preventative measures become extremely important. Sneeze and cough into your elbow. If you do not have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands.
- Protect your family. The entire world is on pause right now, and that may mean you’re at home with spouses or partners, aging parents, or children. Regularly disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces: tables, doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, cell phones, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Do your best to continue practicing social distancing even in a confined space. Older adults and those with underlying medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, so limit time with that population as much as possible.
- Prepare your home. Designate a room in your house you could use to quarantine a sick person. Plan to serve meals in that designated room, and provide a trash can solely for that space. Prepare for a sick person to use a separate bathroom, if possible. Caretakers, of either young children or aging parents, should appoint a backup person to provide necessary care. Consider making a plan with your neighbors to share childcare and grocery shopping responsibilities.
As you’re making these plans, continue to practice preventive measures. Most household disinfectants are effective against COVID-19, but make sure you’re carefully following instructions for proper application. The same applies for soft surfaces, like carpets and couches. If they’re available to you, consider wearing disposable gloves when doing laundry, and wash your hands as soon as you remove them. Be sure to use the warmest water appropriate for whatever you’re washing, and dry everything completely.
Don’t forget to make time for your mental health, too. Exercise regularly with free online videos, or go outside and take a walk. Limit screen time as much as possible, but don’t forget to keep in touch with friends and family via FaceTime or an old-fashioned phone call. You can find more information on self-care, as well as the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and available resources, on our website.